Dudley Darrow

Chisholm Supt. Dudley Darrow

ENID, Okla. — Chisholm Public Schools Superintendent Dudley Darrow wishes state leaders were doing more to bring people into the teaching profession.

Teacher numbers are down throughout the state, and Darrow said he is concerned not enough college students are getting into education.

“Teaching is hard,” he said. “You have to perform for kids and keep them engaged. We have teachers retiring, and there is not enough coming into the system. This is a scary thing.”

He said he feels fortunate that Chisholm is fully staffed with both teachers and support personnel. The district does have some emergency certified teachers and adjunct teachers, as well as new teachers on staff. Those teachers are assigned mentors to help them assimilate into the system.

“I think teachers want to come to Chisholm,” Darrow said.

Darrow said he focuses on four areas when he hires teachers. Content knowledge and classroom management skills are primary, along with technology capabilities and emotional and social learning, or knowing how to talk to children.

This year, the teachers received a step raise for years of service, and everyone who came back to Chisholm collected a $250 bonus, he said. He said he wishes he could compensate his staff more, but he is proud of what they were able to do.

“House Bill 4388 will give teachers more pay if the Oklahoma Lottery Trust reaches $65 million,” he said. “It has only happened once in seven years, and when it happens we can only pay 10% of our teachers more money. I don’t like it. I want to help all teachers, not just a few, and we can’t depend on this money anyway. We need to do better.”

He tries to communicate all this information to his teachers. The first goal Darrow had when he took the job at Chisholm was communicating with his staff and building relationships.

“I want to build trust,” he said. “We have good people at Chisholm and in the community. We all need to work together, and it is something that is happening in the school system.

“I have assistant principals teaching and helping students with school programs. I will drive a bus if I need to because we work together,” Darrow said.

Darrow encouraged people to educate themselves about candidates and their stances on issues on the ballot in the November general election.

“Vote, do your homework and choose wisely,” he said.

Darrow also said he is against school vouchers, which would allow public tax money to be used for children attending private schools. He said he grew up in Shattuck and the biggest employer in town is the public school system. The voucher plan will hurt schools like Shattuck.

“Vouchers (are) a community killer and will take away from public education,” Darrow said.

He tries to communicate his concerns to his teachers. The first goal for Darrow at Chisholm was communicating with his staff and building relationships. “I want to build trust. We have good people at Chisholm and in the community. We all need to work together and it is something that is happening in the school system.

“I have assistant principals teaching and helping students with school programs. I will drive a bus if I need to because we work together. Darrow apparently walks his talk.

He went to D. Bruce Selby Stadium early Wednesday morning to watch the Chisholm High School band perform in the OSSAA Northwest Region marching competition. That evening, he planned to help paint the football field for the game Friday night against Blackwell.

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Byrd is the education reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. 
Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for Suzie? Send an email to sbyrd@enidnews.com.

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